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New institute to spur innovation, entrepreneurial activity
UCCS will establish the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization to encourage university and community partnership in bringing new ideas to the region.
At its June 4 meeting, the CU Board of Regents approved a UCCS plan to revamp the former Colorado Institute for Technology Transfer and Implementation. In addition to the name change, the reorganized unit will focus on the early development of new ideas and products and aiding individuals in taking ideas to market, according to Peg Bacon, provost.
“We believe that connecting academia with the business community and with local, state and federal government will provide short- and long-term benefits to our community,” Bacon said.
EPIIC will focus on five areas. They are:
- Innovation micro fund. EPIIC will provide early start-up funding for university/community partnerships.
- Business innovation and research activity. The institute will encourage partnerships the university and entrepreneurs to develop commercially viable technologies.
- Services/seminars in innovation. The institute will conduct workshops and seminars to educate entrepreneurs about university resources, funding options, idea testing, and legal issues. Included is MIND Studios, Colorado’s first design and advanced rapid prototyping lab, based at UCCS.
- Education in innovation. The UCCS Bachelor of Innovation™ degree program includes several areas of emphasis such as business administration, computer science, electrical engineering, and game design. The degree also has an innovation and entrepreneurship core that includes a unique long-term, multi-disciplinary team experience with local companies.
- Economic development. Specific efforts will include support for the U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs as well as privately sponsored research grants, development of a UCCS research park, and general efforts to recruit and retain employers.
Terrance Boult, El Pomar Chair for Innovation and Security, and Michael Larson, El Pomar Chair for Engineering and Innovation, will work half-time for the institute. A third professor position, El Pomar Chair for Entrepreneurial Finance, will be filled in the coming academic year.
EPIIC replaces CITTI, established in 1991 through a grant from El Pomar Foundation and matched by CU. CITTI focused its efforts on the transfer of ideas generated at the university to the marketplace.